How Does Self Storage SEO Work?

October 18, 2022

Self Storage SEO Graphic with magnifying glass and up arrow
7 min

How does Google decide which website gets the prime spot?

Why does my Google Business Profile matter so much? Do I need a blog?

In this article, we'll go in-depth on how SEO for self storage actually works, so you can make informed decisions about marketing your business online.


What is Self Storage SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, and it refers to the efforts marketers make to get their websites to appear in search engines.

Primarily, marketers target Google, with the other search engines as secondary efforts. This is because Google has about 90% of the global market share. Other search engines can benefit your business, but it just doesn't make sense to focus on them when Google is such a powerhouse.

Plus, the steps you take to appeal to Google will usually get you results on Bing, Yahoo, etc. too.

Search engine optimization is becoming more and more important as more and more business takes place online. Self storage customers live in a world where every good and service can be purchased from their phone - and they expect self storage to be the same. Without good SEO, your customers won't be able to rent from you online because they won't be able to find you.

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

The first priority of SEO is making sure search engines recognize your website and catalog it as an option.

One helpful way to think of this is like a library, with every website being a book, and Google as the librarian. Searchers come in, ask the librarian a question, and the librarian points them to the book (website) best able to answer it.

But how does the librarian know which book will answer a specific search? And how does the librarian know which book will answer the search best?

How Does SEO Work for Self Storage?

To understand SEO (and how to optimize our websites well), we need to know how search engines find us, and how they decide what results to show.

Google’s goal is to answer the searcher’s intent. 

If the searcher is looking for knowledge (is tomato a fruit), Google will point them to an authoritative source of information (like National Geographic). If the searcher is looking for a local business, Google will use the searcher’s location to find the most relevant results close by.

Then, of course, Google makes money off of the ads that appear on the results page. 

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

The most important thing to take from this is that Google isn’t trying to help your business. Google wants to give the searcher the most accurate, most convenient answer.

SEO is structuring your website so that Google thinks your website is that answer.

Appealing to User Intent

As Google (and the other search engines) have gotten better and better, SEO has moved from “stuff your website with keywords and purchase backlinks” to simply providing the best customer experience.

The algorithms that determine Google’s results use a hierarchy of factors to determine which website is best. We’ll cover the major factors later, but almost all of them are geared towards measuring which websites searchers found most useful.

  • If searchers are clicking on your website it means your title and description look relevant to what they’re seeking
  • If they stay on your website and interact with it, that means you’re answering their needs
  • If people are linking to your website, it means they think your website is informative and useful

Google takes these human-generated signals to determine which websites to show their searchers.

For small business owners, the main takeaway is that you can improve your SEO in many of the same ways you would grow other aspects of your business - by doing a great job of catering to your customers.

Of course, you have to do this while playing by the search engine’s rules. No website, no matter how good, can help your potential customers if Google can’t find it.


30-50 billion.  There are far more web pages out there than there are people in the world. Some estimates put that number in the trillions, though that number includes many that Google ignores for various techie reasons.

How does any company categorize and understand that volume of content?

The answer, as all our sci-fi fans probably guessed, is robots. 

These bots, called crawlers, go from web page to web page, following links and reading text on these pages. They categorize each page based on what they find there - this is why keywords are important.

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

If your website mentions self storage units and amenities frequently, that will help the crawler understand what your site deals with. Years ago, it was important to have an exact match witht he search term - ie, Google would only show a web page that mentioned “self storage units with roll-up doors” if that’s what the searcher typed.

Today, though, the Google algorithms are much better at matching topics rather than specific keywords. So, you don’t have to mention every possible variant someone might search - provide easy-to-read information your customers need and you won’t have to worry too much about matching exact keywords.

It’s still a good idea to mention “self storage units,” “RV parking,” or “boat storage,” though. While we’re moving away from keyword matching, you still need to be clear about what you’re selling.

Once the crawlers have indexed your site, Google’s algorithms will have you as a possible answer to give to searchers.

But how does Google decide which website to display for what searches?

Self Storage SEO Ranking Factors

Across the greater internet (by which I mean, not just our little self storage universe), there are over 200 known ranking factors.

Luckily, you don’t need most of these ranking factors, because self storage SEO is only concerned with local results

The vast majority of your tenants, even those who find you online, will come from within five miles or so of your facility.

Google uses different metrics when considering what websites to show someone searching for a local business

For example, when someone searches for “sushi restaurants,” they’re probably looking for something to eat. Google won’t show them a result that discusses the history and styles of sushi restaurants that can be found across the country, nor would they show the best sushi restaurants in New York if the searcher is in Knoxville!

Instead, Google will use these local ranking factors to find the most relevant business to the searcher:

  1. Google Business Profile
  2. Google Reviews
  3. Proximity to searcher
  4. Physical address
  5. Consistency
  6. SEO Elements (keywords, headers, etc.)
  7. Local engagement
  8. Organic user behavior
  9. Inbound links

If you work with StoragePug and we’re always bothering you about your Google Business Profile, this is why!

Four of the top five local ranking factors are tied directly to your GBP, and the other is completely out of your control (proximity to the searcher).

If you set up your Google Business Profile correctly, Google will know what type of business you are, where you’re located, and what keywords you should be a result for.

If your profile isn’t set up (or isn’t set up correctly and accurately), Google’s algorithm won’t be certain what you do or where you are. Instead of risking showing the wrong hours or location, Google will simply choose the next best business and you’ll be out of luck.

Once Google knows what your business does (and when you’ll be open), the algorithm has no preference between you and your competitors because it’s a robot with no eyes or ears or soul (sorry crawlers) and can’t tell the difference between a good facility and a terrible one.

Instead, the robots look at what the humans think. That means your customers’ reviews.

Getting reviews is vitally important for your online business, as is responding to reviews. If a customer leaves a good review, a “Thanks for your business!” is great. If they leave a negative review, try to offer a solution - and don’t worry too much. Research has shown that a few negative reviews mixed in with the good make customers trust the overall rating more

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

Numbers 7 & 8, local engagement and organic user behavior, are other ways in which your visitors will cast a vote for or against your facility. 

When someone uses your website to then call your business or, better yet, make a purchase, the search engine algorithms take that to mean your business is appealing. These votes come through visitors to your website too.

The longer a visitor stays on your website, the more authority that visit gives you. There’s no good way to game this system - the best thing you can do for most of these factors is to create a great customer experience.

Backlinks (or inbound links) are vitally important in global SEO, but not as important in local SEO. If you can provide useful information that generates backlinks, great - but starting a blog probably won’t be the most valuable use of your time.

Speaking of time - SEO is a slow business. Ranking well can take between four months and a year! StoragePug is often able to crack the Local Pack in less time than that (because Local SEO plays a bit differently), but patience is key.

Now that you know how SEO for self storage works, you can start taking steps to improve yours! Check out our Self Storage Marketing Playbook for even more tips and tricks to growing your business.

Learn more ways to improve your self storage facility with these:

At StoragePug, we build self storage websites that make it easy for new customers to find you and easy for them to rent from you.

Reach more tenants!

Learn how to market your business with StoragePug!

Marketing Playbook Cover - Dropshadow